1 March 1985. 18h00.
I took the full force of the impact. The metal panels of the vehicle smashed into my back crushing and shattering three vertebrae. At first I felt no pain, no fear but could see it etched into everyone else`s faces.
It was a Friday afternoon we were coming home, a weekend pass. Just minutes earlier we were all laughing, the boys had just smoked a big joint of Durban Poison. It was hot, a tropical summer hot, hot and humid. We were coming home, a few days back with family a few days away from the reality of army life. A few days back in the ocean, a few days of surfing.
I was the rookie in the group I had only been at 121 Battalion for 3 months and it was an eye opener. Basic training had been tough, no doubt but I was fit and ready, being in a combat unit was another thing all together, this was the real deal.
The next few minutes changed everything. I became another person, the same on the outside but inside everything changed, I could never go back.